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I do love me a pretty tea towel for my kitchen. Not only are they useful but they can add a little character to a space where many of us spend hours putting love into cooking all sorts of delicious meals, being social, and of course, taking care of the dishes.
I, for one, am a foodie and I love to bake and cook so tea towels are a handy thing to have for all sorts of kitchen & eating related activities.
While you can pick up a few tea towels online or from your local store, as someone who loves a good diy project, sewing my very own makes sense. I can select fabrics with designs I love rather than being limited to what pre-made tea towels offer me. This makes it easy to create matching napkins and tablecloths if I had that itch.
Not only that, but you can gift your handmade tea towels to your friends and family. The fact that it's handmade makes it all the more special! It's also really easy to make, and it takes around 20 minutes with prep time.
For this tutorial, I designed a 2024 moth calendar (which I'll update yearly) and had Spoonflower print it for me on linen cotton canvas. You can find the design in my Spoonflower shop or use any fat quarter fabric of your choosing.
I'll be making my tea towel approximately 18x22 inches (45.72cm x 55.88cm), but you can make your any size you'd like. Just be sure to add a couple of inches to each side which will be folded and sewn in.
- 20 x 24 inch (50.8cm x 60.96cm) cotton or linen fabric
- Sewing machine
- Ironing board
- Sewing pins or clips
Once you have your fabric you'll want to wash, dry, and iron it. If you skip this part you might be alright but sometimes your finished tea towel can warp when you do send it to the wash later. It's less likely to do that if you prewash your fabric.
Trim your fabric down to approximately 20 x 24 inch (50.8cm x 60.96cm). A cutting mat helps a lot with measuring and cutting. You want your design to be perfectly centered before you cut.
If you don't have a cutting mat, fold the fabric in half along the center to make it easier:
Start by folding the bottom to the top of your design. It helps to have the design facing out so you can see where you are folding. Make sure your fold is centered, then measure 12" from the center to the edge and trim.
Then unfold and fold your fabric along the center from left to right. Measure 10" out to the edge, then trim.
Your fabric should now measure 20 x 24 inches.
Once your fabric is trimmed, it's time to prep the edges.
Lay your fabric face down, measure 1 inch, then fold the edges in on all sides.
Open the fold, and fold the edges so they're lined up with the 1 inch fold (½ inch in).
Next, fold the edge in again where you made the 1" fold and add clips to hold them in place.
The corners can get a little bulky so before we miter the corners let’s give it a little trim.
Open the fold just above the corner of your fabric like this:
Snip about half an inch from the corner at an angle. This is optional but worth it when your fabric is bulky.
Then use the creases as a guide to fold the corner back up to create a mitered fold. Iron it down and pin. Do this for each corner.
Sorry about the miter photos. I had a brain fart and forgot to take photos of the mitered corners on my calendar tea towels so these are from a previous tea towel I made.
Now, you're ready to sew and bring your tea towel together. Use a regular straight stitch close to the inside edge of your folds. That's it!
9 Creative Uses for Tea Towels
Now that you know how to make your own tea towels you'll have fun making them for your kitchen, friends, and family! We all know tea towels are great for drying dishes but their versatility is pretty much endless. Here's a short list of creative ways to use your tea towels:
- Bread warmer
- Substitute as gift wrap or tissue paper
- Handmade gift
- Basket liner
- Use as a hot pad
- Dry & store your salad greens (keeps them crispy)
- Wall art
- Tea pot koozie
I would love to see how yours turns out so please feel free to share your creations! I'm sure they'll turn out tea-riffic!